Date Published: 26 September 2018
Work has begun on the long-awaited conversion of an iconic 150-year-old former school into unique homes at the heart of Sleaford.
In total, North Kesteven District Council’s £1m-plus investment at the old Quarrington School, supported by £400,000 from Homes England’s Affordable Housing Programme, will deliver nine homes for social housing, all well-suited to younger people and small-family units, in an area of high demand.
Making best use of the space and celebrating the characteristic architecture of the Grade 2-listed building, the most exciting aspect is the creation of three modern living spaces where an upstairs bedroom effectively hangs within the apex of the high roof of the old school hall.
Originally built in 1867, the school closed in 2002 and has been vacant ever since, subject to vandalism and decay.
Under a 2007 approval, nine homes have already been built in the former playground but the main building remained untouched.
In 2012 the plan was amended to allow for three flat conversions within the main school hall, two more in an annex and a sixth in the old headmaster’s office; it is this plan that is now being fulfilled, with a further three new-build homes to be constructed in the grounds.
Across the development there will be five two-bed homes, two with three bedrooms and two one-bed flats.
The Council project secures the Grantham Road building for the community, transforming a local landmark, halting its decline and restoring its fortunes.
It fits within a bold and ambitious commitment to build more than 100 homes within Sleaford alone over the next five years, with broader aspirations for the whole District.
Councillor John Money, Executive Member with special interest for housing and property, said the Council was delighted to be able to proceed with the purchase, renovation and conversation of the historic school building in partnership with Sankate Homes which had originally bought the site and initially scoped the plans.
“This really is a fantastic opportunity to deliver a scheme that offers so much potential benefit to the community; not only in the creation of new, much-needed affordable housing, but also the preservation of a building which has sadly become something of an eyesore.
“The old Quarrington School has played an important role in the life of Sleaford over many generations and through our involvement in re-invigorating this scheme I am delighted to say that it will continue to contribute to lives locally for many decades to come.
“By stepping in to facilitate the renovation, with much-appreciated grant aid from Homes England which makes it possible, the Council is investing further in strengthening North Kesteven’s flourishing communities.
Caroline Cormack, head of home ownership and supply in the Midlands for Homes England, said: “Homes England is committed to delivering more housing where people need them most so it’s great to see our funding helping to develop this site and deliver homes for Affordable Rent in Sleaford.”
Having owned the site for 12 years builder and director of Sankate Homes, Neil Lowdon said he was pleased to see its redevelopment for social housing in a way which would secure, protect and enhance the building and benefit the town.